The tobacco spittoon just before Marty flung it at Buford Tannen.

" He [Marty] twirled around, jumped and whooped — the last mostly for dramatic effect— landing with all his weight on the warped plank. / And the spittoon went sailing, way up into the air, way farther than Marty ever thought it would. Maybe, Marty considered, this wasn't quite the diversion he was looking for. He realized the silver vase was headed straight for Mad Dog Tannen. / There was a loud clang as the spittoon hit Tannen in the head, knocking him down and spraying him with spit and old tobacco. / The saloon became very quiet. The three sidekicks stared down at their boss, who sat there, stunned, dripping tobacco juice. / Tannen blinked. His mouth turned down into what started as a frown but quickly turned into a look of intense rage as he wiped the brown sludge from his face with the back of his hand. / The old-timer with the white beard whistled softly at Marty. 'You'd better run, boy. Fast. And far.' "
—From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, pages 70 and 71)

Spittoons were round containers used in the 19th century for spitting tobacco juice into, becoming an unsavory collection of saliva and other items.

They could be found in public places such as saloons.


In 1885, Marty McFly jumped on a warped board in the Palace Saloon while dancing to "Billie Jean", which flung a spittoon into the air, landing on Buford Tannen and dumping its contents on him.

Behind the scenes[]

  • 'Spittoon' is also spelled 'spitoon' (with one 't', as here). As the 'double t' spelling is used both in the novelization and on Wikipedia, it has therefore been adopted here.
  • On page 71 of the novelization (see Quote above), a misprint resulted in the line Tannen blinked reading 'Tanned blinked' instead. This error has been corrected here.


See also[]